PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team began the 2017-18 season with a 61-40, setback at La Salle on Saturday evening in the first campus round game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.
"I thought that we competed really hard on the defensive end," said head coach John Dunne. "I didn't know what to expect defensively and I thought we were pretty admirable on that end and we had great competitive spirit. Offensively, we knew that we had to be low turnover to win this game and we weren't. We had nine turnovers on 29 possessions in the first half and in the first eight possessions of the second half we had four turnovers, so you can't win to many games if that is the case. We didn't shoot the ball as good as we will moving forward through this year. We have been shooting the ball extremely well in practice and in the first two scrimmages and we just didn't shoot the ball as good as we could. If the defense can improve just a little bit and the offense can improve on the low turnovers, then we will be better moving forward."
Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) scored the first basket of the season for the Peacocks, nailing a 15-foot jumper at the top of the key, giving the Peacocks a 2-0 lead. The Peacocks regained the lead at 5-4, when Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) made a nice cut to the basket, receiving a dish from Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) for the reverse layup. The Peacocks fell behind 8-6 by the under 12 media break. After action resumed, Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills) tied the game for Saint Peter's at 8-8 and 10-10, with an up and under layup, and a two-handed power slamdunk. Back to back trifectas from Turner and Griffin gave the Peacocks their final lead of the day at 16-13 at the 11:50 mark. After that point, the Peacocks went on a 10 minute drought, and La Salle took advantage as they put together a 17-0 run during the timeframe, leading to a 30-16 advantage. Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) hit a three-pointer with 1:09 left in half, off pass from Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) ending the drought and sending the teams into the break at 30-19.
Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) got things going in the second half, making a putback layup and cutting the Peacock deficit back to single digits at 30-21. Saint Peter's fell back to a double-digit deficit, but two free throws by Taylor put the game back within single digits at 32-23. La Salle extended the lead to double figures again but the Peacocks continued to bring the contest to 10 points, starting with Jones hitting back to back threes, both on passes from Turner, trailing 40-30. Then, Turner hit a deep three, to make it 43-33 after a La Salle bucket. La Salle's lead grew to 15 points when they went up 50-35, but Griffin responded with a three, cutting to 50-38, with 4:39 remaining. The three was not enough to spark a comeback for the visiting Peacocks, as La Salle scored 11 out of the game's final 13 points, securing the 61-40 victory.
Jones led the Peacocks with a game-high, nine points on three made three-point field goals. Griffin and Turner followed with eight points each, while Turner handed out a Peacock-best, four assists. Idowu added a team-high six rebounds and scored six points.
The Peacocks have one day's rest, before returning to action on Monday night against Northwestern to close out the campus rounds of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The tip time in Chicago on Monday night is set for 8pm ET.